New associate vice chancellor for student affairs doing homework
Published: Monday, September 17, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, September 18, 2012 16:09
Dr. Dan Shipp has come full circle at UNO. Shipp graduated from UNO with a master’s degree in recreation administration in 1993. Nineteen years later, he’s back as associate vice chancellor for student affairs.
“I’m a product of this great institution,” Shipp said. “It’s pretty exciting to come back and see the changes.”
After receiving his master’s degree in 1993, Shipp went on to work as assistant director of campus recreation services and facilities at UNO until 1996. For the next 10 years, Shipp served as senior associate director of recreation services at the University of Missouri. In 2006, Shipp joined the University of the Pacific as associate vice president for student life.
One of the major changes Shipp noticed on campus was the addition of student housing on the Dodge and Pacific locations.
“It’s a more vibrant student life on campus with the addition of housing,” Shipp said. “We have now this kind of great residential blend to also servicing our students in and around the Omaha community. Campus has really transformed.”
Shipp has also noticed changes at the School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation (HPER). When Shipp was at HPER in the 90s, students came for a workout and left.
“Now it has become this really great magnet for student interaction and socialization,” Shipp said. “I think that’s just a great example of doing something right for the campus.”
Changes to the buildings and grounds aren’t the only ones Shipp has seen. He has also seen pride in students.
“Every place I go and I meet with students on campus, they are very proud of this new identity that has become UNO today,” Shipp said.
Shipp has been in his new position at UNO since early August. His job focuses on student affairs and what students are doing outside of the classroom.
“Our job is to be effective partners with the academic division in that we are helping to educate the whole person, the whole student,” Shipp said.
Student involvement outside of the classroom includes Greek life, multicultural affairs, campus recreation, student organizations and more.
Shipp works in partnerships with those out-of-class organizations to help students find campus communities. He also works with deans of the university’s colleges and with service centers on campus, like Disability Services and the Testing Center.
Shipp likened the position of chancellor to governor because of the breadth of their responsibilities. He considers his position to be like that of a mayor.
“I really appreciate what we’ve done on this campus where we’ve joined academic and student affairs as an entity,” Shipp said. “That functionally reinforces the message that we are educating the whole person.”
One major task Shipp wants to work on is retention. He is building partnerships to help students persist to graduation.
“There’s a lot of work colleges and universities are doing to support students making it to the finish line,” Shipp said. “That’s everything from advising to health services to making sure our campus is safe. All of those are very important critical functions that operates within my sphere of responsibility.”
In the nearly five weeks Shipp has been in his new position, he has been meeting with every organization on campus he can. If he hasn’t met with organizations yet, he will soon.
“I don’t think you could really support students’ success if you weren’t on the front lines with students,” Shipp said.
Shipp thinks of his meetings with students and organizations as a listening campaign. He is using it to not only get to know students, faculty and staff, but also to learn what’s working well, what is liked about UNO and what could be focused on to improve student experiences.
“Everything for me is focused on student success,” Shipp said. “I’m talking about what you learn in and out of the classroom but also graduating.”
Shipp wants to experience UNO through the eyes of students. He wants to have a relationship with students on a campus that is open.
Another item Shipp would like to focus on is UNO being the healthiest campus in the country.
The University of North Dakota was ranked third behind UCLA and Stanford as the healthiest campus in the country. If North Dakota can make the list at third, Shipp said, UNO can be number one. While he admits it’s a broad proclamation, it gives the campus something to aspire to.